Home Marriage License The Ultimate Guide on Marriage Licenses

The Ultimate Guide on Marriage Licenses

The Ultimate Guide on Marriage Licenses

The Ultimate Guide on Marriage Licenses

Getting married is a life-changing event, and preparing for it can be a daunting task. Amidst all the excitement of wedding planning, couples often overlook critical details that go into making their marriage legal, like obtaining a marriage license. In this ultimate guide on marriage licenses, we’ll explore everything you need to know about this vital document and how to obtain it with ease.

What is a Marriage License?

A marriage license is a legal document issued by a government agency that allows couples to solemnize their union. It serves as proof that a marriage ceremony occurred and is an essential document in registering a marriage. Marriage licenses are essential because they provide legal protection for the rights and benefits of the married couple.

Types of Marriage Licenses

Different states in the United States issue different types of marriage licenses depending on various factors. These include:

1. Public Marriage Licenses

These are standard marriage licenses available to all couples who meet the legal requirements set by their state. Public marriage licenses are issued by government agencies and can be obtained by both citizens and non-citizens of the country.

2. Confidential Marriage Licenses

Confidential marriage licenses are available in some states and are meant for couples who prefer privacy. In this type of marriage license, only the couple, authorized officiants, and government officials can access the document. Confidential marriage licenses do not require witnesses during the wedding ceremony, making them ideal for couples looking for a more intimate celebration.

Requirements for Obtaining a Marriage License

Different states have different requirements for obtaining a marriage license. However, some of the most common requirements include:

1. Identification Documents

To obtain a marriage license, couples will need to present valid identification documents, such as a passport, driver’s license, or birth certificate. These documents are necessary to confirm the couples’ identity and legal age to marry.

2. Residency Requirements

Some states may require couples to reside within the state’s boundaries for a specific duration before obtaining a marriage license. Therefore, couples should check their state’s residency requirements before applying for a marriage license.

3. Blood tests

Although blood test requirements have been phased out in many states in the US, some states may still require couples to undergo tests for venereal diseases before issuing a marriage license.

4. Waiting Period

States may impose a waiting period between when couples apply for a marriage license and when they can get married. The waiting period could be a few days, weeks, or even months, depending on the state.

How to Apply for a Marriage License

Applying for a marriage license is a straightforward process that requires couples to follow a few simple steps. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Determine your eligibility

Before applying for a marriage license, you need to determine if you meet your state’s eligibility requirements. Check with the state’s registrar to obtain information on residency requirements, age limit, and other vital details.

2. Collect the required documents

Gather your identification documents, proof of residency (if required), and any other supporting documents necessary for obtaining a marriage license.

3. Complete the application form

Visit your local county clerk’s office or the state registrar’s office to obtain a marriage license application form. Fill in the form, and provide any other required information.

4. Pay the fee

Marriage license application fees vary from state to state and can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. Therefore, couples should check the state’s fee schedule and have the required amount ready to pay.

5. Wait for the marriage license

After submitting your application, you may have to wait for a few days, depending on the state’s requirements, before obtaining your marriage license. Once you receive the document, check for any errors or inconsistencies and contact the issuing agency immediately if you identify any.

Final Thoughts

Obtaining a marriage license is a critical step in getting married, and couples should ensure that they do it correctly to avoid any legal troubles down the line. Follow the steps above and, with a little patience and diligence, you’ll be well on your way to obtaining a marriage license and enjoying a happy and fulfilling married life.

Marriage licenses are required in every state.

A marriage license is provided as proof that a couple is legally allowed to be married in the state that they wish to be married.

In general, couples must provide documentation as proof of facts listed on their marriage.


Marriage licenses are required for any couple that wishes to enter into a legally recognized marriage. Every state requires that couples get a marriage license. However, each state has different requirements for couples wishing to be granted a marriage license.

Marriage license requirements were introduced to control couples’ legal ability to be married. In fact, marriage license laws were originally aimed at preventing nonwhites from entering in marriage and being granted the rights and responsibilities generally conferred upon marriage. Later, interracial couples were forbidden from obtaining a marriage license.

Currently, same-sex couples are generally prohibited from obtaining a marriage license due to marriage laws in most states. However, the current purpose of marriage licenses differs from what it was in the past.

While marriage licenses are still utilized to prevent certain types of marriage, they are generally utilized to protect individuals from an inappropriate marriage contract


The purpose of a marriage license is to provide proof that a couple is allowed to enter into a legally recognized marriage. In order to receive a marriage license, couples must provide proof of their eligibility for meeting all state requirements.

Any marriage that takes place in the absence of a marriage license, will not be legally recognized in any municipality.

In fact, each state has specific marriage license laws and requirements. Proof of fact in one state may not be sufficient in another state. In addition, certain states have different age and gender requirements.

However, each state requires marriage licenses in order to provide proof that couples are legally entitled to be married in a specific state.

A marriage license from one state has no legal validity in another state. However, most marriages performed in the United States, are likely to be recognized across the country, as long as they do not violate applicable federal or state laws.

Couples that wish to be legally married must allow themselves ample time to obtain their marriage license.


The requirements for couples seeking a marriage license will be different in every state. However, each state requires legal proof of facts provided in a marriage license application.

Many states require that couples utilize original birth certificates as proof of legal name and age. In addition, birth certificates will list the names of each intended spouse’s parents.

In fact, couples will need some basic information about their parents, including maiden names and birth dates.

In addition, couples will usually need to provide acceptable photo identification such as a passport or driver license if applicable.

However, a person who intends to be married may not be required to provide that documentation if it is not applicable. For example, one or both intended spouses may be from another country and they are still allowed to be legally married in most states.

However, United States citizens that marry in this country will be required to provide a social security card so that their public records can be linked to their specific identity.

If either spouse was previously involved in another legally recognized relationship, such as marriage, cohabitation domestic partnership application:

In order to apply for a marriage license, couples must obtain the necessary paperwork. Besides the application, couples will be required to provide legally acceptable documentation as proof of entitlement to be married.

Marriage license applications are available at any courthouse, and some states even offer the applications online. In general, the only two acceptable ways to file for a marriage license are in person or online.

In any case, both intended spouses are required to provide the same documentation in order to verify certain facts.

Generally, birth certificates, passports, and divorce decrees-are necessary to provide such proof. Applications generally only require very basic information from both intended spouses and their parents.

Couples must generally fill out their application in legible handwriting in blue or black ink. In addition, couples generally have to pay a rather small fee to obtain their marriage license application.

Couples must make some decisions before they fill out their application.

Once a name appears on a marriage license or marriage certificate, it can not be changed. So, women must decide if they will be changing their surname to that of their husbands.

Once that determination has been made, it is difficult to change any documentation. Couples should do some research before attempting to fill out their application since they do not always understand the implications of such factors as legal name changes.


While marriage licenses are utilized as proof that a couple is legally entitled to be married, marriage certificates are proof that the marriage took place.

Generally, the individual that officiated over the ceremony will file the marriage certificate with the courthouse that granted the marriage license.

A marriage certificate is not filed at the courthouse within the town where the marriage took place unless it is the same town that granted the marriage license.

Most states require that marriage certificates be filed with the courthouse that granted the marriage license.

While couples obtain the right to marry anywhere within the jurisdiction when they are granted a marriage license, there are separate requirements for the filing of documentation.

Marriage certificates are a vital personal record for couples that have been married.

Marriage certificates are needed for legal name changes. In addition, marriage certificates are utilized as proof of eligibility for family memberships, family health benefit plans, and family tax breaks

Necessary Forms and Cost:

Each state has specific forms that help couples be sure that they meet all marriage license requirements as prescribed by specific state marriage law. In general, the forms are very short and simple.

However, couples should be sure that they obtain all of the proper forms and documents and allow ample time to fill out and file them at the proper courthouse.

Couples can obtain the proper forms from a courthouse in the state where they wish to be married.

In addition, some states provide the necessary forms for marriage license applications on the state’s website.

In either case, couples should be careful to avoid making any errors when filling out the forms.

After they are sure that they have acquired all necessary forms and the required proof of the fact, couples will have to pay a fee for their marriage license. In general, the fee is less than fifty dollars.

A copy of the marriage certificate is usually available sixty days after it has been filed with the courthouse. If couples require the marriage certificate before then, they can pay an extra fee to expedite the process.

Generally, obtaining the appropriate forms, proof of facts, and the marriage license is a speedy process, as long as couples do not encounter unforeseen circumstances.

Marriage License Laws:

Marriage license laws were originally intended to control the rights of couples to be legally married.

A marriage license remains a legal requirement for couples that wish to be married in the United States. In fact, it is often one of the first steps for couples preparing for their wedding.

While couples cannot apply for their license too soon, because of expiration time frames, they should become aware of all requirements early in the process.

By having that knowledge early, couples can properly prepare themselves. In fact, some necessary documentation can take time to locate or obtain.

For example, original birth certificates may be more difficult to obtain than in the past.

After September 11, 2001, many local governments have strengthened their standards on proof of identity.

Due to these heightened standards, individuals experience a much more difficult time obtaining documents such as birth certificates. In addition, many states no longer accept certain birth certificates, unless individuals are issued new ones.

For example, citizens born in Hudson County, New Jersey, and all of Puerto Rico, are required to obtain new birth certificates. Old birth certificates from those locations are no longer considered to be legal proof of identity.

Due to such factors, couples should be sure that they allow ample time to understand and meet all marriage license requirements as prescribed by the state’s marriage laws.


Many couples find they are able to apply for their marriage license online. This can be especially helpful for couples that wish to get married in a location that is not close to where they live.

For example, many couples choose to marry in Hawaii, even when they are not state residents. In fact, Hawaii has no residency requirements to issue marriage licenses.

Any couple can marry there as long as they provide the necessary proof of facts contained within the couple’s marriage license application.

However, couples are not likely to be in Hawaii for a long period of time before getting married there. For that reason, Hawaii allows couples to apply for a marriage license online.

Couples will still need to provide proof of fact, and usually mail all original documents after they have filled out the application online.

This process can take longer than applying in person and couples should be sure that they allow themselves ample time to apply and be granted a marriage license.

Public Records:

Like many documents, marriage licenses and marriage certificates are considered public records. In fact, any individual may request the documentation as long as they know where it is filed.

It can sometimes be difficult to ascertain where to access a couple’s marriage license record.

Couples do not always marry in the same town or city that granted their marriage license. In fact, many couples have their marriage certificate filed in a court house in a different town than where they were married.

It is perfectly acceptable for couples to do this, as long as they marry within the same jurisdiction of the courthouse that granted their marriage license. As public records, marriage licenses and marriage certificates are available to anyone that requests them.

In fact, many personal details are contained within those records, but they are also contained within many other public records.

By having a public marriage license record, couples are not subjected to any addition personal identity theft dangers. The information contained within those documents, can be found within many other public records, such as birth certificates.